Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Sun Protection Essentials for Kids

With Summer here, I thought it would be appropriate to share with my readers some of my favorite sun protection essentials for kids.  Sun protection is serious business!  For example, did you know that we get almost 80% of our exposure to the sun before the age of 18?  And sun exposure can cause problems that are much more serious than a sunburn.  In fact, one of the leading causes of skin cancer in adults is sun damage that occurred during childhood.  But sun damage can cause not only cancer, but immune system problems, eye disease, and other issues.  So I'll say it again.  Sun protection is SERIOUS BUSINESS!!!

With that being said, here are some of my favorite sun protection items for kids:

1.) A Great Sunscreen - A child's skin is more sensitive to the sun than an adult's.  The AAP recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater on children 6 months and up.  Our favorite sunscreen to use? - Episencial Sunny Sunscreen! 

Episencial Sunscreen has an SPF of 35 and protects against both UVA and UVB rays.  Its also water resistant for 80 minutes. And because its a natural product, its safe for ages 0 to 150! (FYI, the other product in the picture above is Episencial's Mighty Shield Bug Repellant.  Its also natural!  And I love that its actually a lotion instead of a spray!  Plus, the smell isn't revolting like most bug repellants!)

2.) A Great Sun Hat - A sun hat is a MUST for outdoor play.  And a baseball cap just won't cut it!  A child needs a wide-brimmed hat that protects their little neck, ears, scalp and face.  Our favorite sun hats? - iplay Classics Brim Sun Protection hats!

These hats are WONDERFUL!!!  They have huge, floppy brims that protect those little ears and necks.  But to make these hats even more amazing, they are made from a special UV-protective fabric!  They also have a wickaway lining, so they help keep your little one's head from getting too sweaty.  And they are reversible!!! - A cute pattern on one side and a solid color on the other, so its like having two hats in one!

3.) A Great Pair of Sunglasses - Most moms think of sunscreen and a hat when they take their kids outside, but many moms forget about sunglasses.  Did you know that your child's eyes are at increased risk of permanent eye damage until the age of 10?  Or that the sun exposure your child's eyes are receiving now could lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, Pterygia, skin cancer around the eyes, and Photokeratitis (sunburn of the corneas)?  And a cheap pair of fashion sunglasses - like the cute ones you find a your child's clothing store - will actually do MORE DAMAGE than good.  Why?  Because they don't protect the eyes, they simply shade them - which causes the pupils to dilate, letting in more harmful rays!  So what do I use for my kids? - Real Kids Shades!

Each pair of Real Kids Shades provides 100% UVA and UVB protection for your little one!  ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!!!  And these glasses are specifically created to fit little faces and little kids' lifestyles.  The baby and toddler versions even contain velcro straps.  So they will stay on during play time, swim time, or any other time!  The "My First Shades" (pictured above) were developed with the help of a pediatric ophthalmologist.  They even contain a special cushioning around the eyes to make them easy to wear!  And all Real Kids Shades are shatter-proof and impact-resistant to keep up with the kids that wear them!
Those are 3 of my favorite sun protection items!  I'd love to hear about some of yours!  Leave your favorites in the comments section below.  And just for good measure, here are some helpful hints for protecting your kids from the sun:
1.) Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight.  Get in the shade!
2.) Limit sun exposure from the hours of 10am to 4pm - when UV rays are the strongest.
3.) Cover your kids in lightweight, comfortable clothing - shirts with sleeves, long pants, hats, etc.
4.) Clothes made from a tight weave provide more protection from the sun than loose-weave clothes.  (If you aren't sure if the fabric has a tight weave, hold it up to the light.  The less light it lets through, the better!)
5.) Make sure your child wears a brimmed hat.  Remember, you don't need to just protect their face.  Their neck, ears, and scalp need protection too!
6.) Make sure your child is wearing sunglasses that have at least 99% UV protection.  But comfy, child-sized glasses with a strap, so that your child will be less tempted to remove them.
7.) Use a "broad spectrum" sunscreen (one that protects from both UVA and UVB rays).  Reapply sunscreen ever 2 hours.  And remember, you can get burnt even on a coudy day!  Don't let clouds fool you!  Apply sunscreen whenever you go outside!!!

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